7:37 PM (2 hours ago)
“NHL-About to Become Rich-But Where?”
We are headed to July. Blazing hot temperatures are everywhere across the country. Forest fires are raging in Northern California. Heavy rain and violent thunderstorms banging the midwest and south.
But with all that heat index stuff, sports fans are readying themselves for an earthquake that might happen on the ice, the NHL.
Hockey free agency is about to begin, and 1-player is about to reap the riches.
Today is the final day in which free agents can meet with perspective teams who are about to make them offers.
On July 1st, players can start signing, and the top names will likely come off the board very quickly on Sunday, when the signing window opens..
Meet John Tavares, the biggest name NHL free agency has seen in decades. This is the equivalent of LeBron James in the NBA, Clayton Kershaw in baseball.
Taveras has been the heart and should of the New York Islanders, an awful franchise, that he has served loyally.
Plagued by bad ownership, a crumbling arena, a strange hiring of a General Manager, the Islanders wallowed. Despite high draft picks in the aftermath of bad seasons, nothing ever improved.
The move of the Isles from the decaying Nassau Coliseum to the new Brooklyn based Barclay Center, turned into a disaster. Islander fans did not follow the team on the Long Island Expressway.
The NHL team found out it was in an NBA Arena, not properly fitted for hockey, and empty seats were everywhere despite the best attempts of the NHL team.
Tavares continued to play, score goals, and be a good soldier.
The Islanders, a month ago, cleaned out the front office. They hired legendary GM-Lou Lamoriello, who helped rebuild the Toronto Maple Leafs, after having been the architect of the New Jersey Devils’ Stanley Cup runs.
Lamoriello fired the New York GM-Garth Snow, and head coach Doug Weight. Last week, the Islanders hired Barry Trotz, just coming off the Stanley Cup raising ceremony with the Washington Capitals.
Quality pieces were in place to rally the franchise, but this team could not get Tavares signed.
Tavares, who has scored 272-goals in Islander colors, turned down contract offers. He decided to go on the open market.
He has spent the last 3-days meeting face to face with free agent bidders. The richest team in the NHL, the Maple Leafs, the legendary Detroit Red Wings, the LA Kings and others.
Based on the NHL salary structure, Taveras will likely sign the max 8-year contract, but the deal could be worth a record 10M per year. No one has ever negotiated a deal like that.
But NHL clubs are flush with salary cap space thanks to record setting TV contracts. Some clubs have done a good job managing the cap, others have not.
The Islanders have the leadership in place, have the money to do this, but still don’t have enough players around their captain and star.
He did everything he could for all those years. The eras of Michel Bossy and Dennis Potvin were a long time ago. History, loyalty and good will count only so much..
John Tavares is about to become a rich man. Now we will find out shortly where. The New York Islanders might not be his home much longer. No one would blame him if he left. Most everyone thinks he will.